Thursday 13 December 2012

Caught Live - The 1975/Go Wolf

Venue: The Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast

Date: 12th December 2012

There is something of a sparse crowd in attendance for the gig this evening at the Oh Yeah Centre. A combination of terrible weather and flag related tomfoolery around the city means that the crowd for The 1975 only number about thirty people.Yet those that have braved into Belfast city centre are in for a treat in the form of the music on offer.

The support act for this evening is Belfast pop four-piece Go Wolf. The first half of their set consists of some competent, if somewhat pedestrian, tunes. However, at the halfway point the band suddenly come into their own and step things up a gear. The tune which marks this change is "Visions", a song that mixes synthesized vocal keyboard samples with a funky, French touch bassline and a rhythm not too dissimilar to the sound that got people dancing to Franz Ferdinand all those years ago.

They then follow this up with two fantastic songs in a row - "All Good Things", with its soaring guitars and impressive rhythm section, current single "Voices", which shows off the great boy/girl harmonies that the group have to offer. They conclude their set with the thundering sound of "Oceans", and leave the stage to a decent reception. The band still have a good bit to go before they become a must-see band locally, but if the second half of the set is anything to go by, then Go Wolf have absolute heaps of potential.

Go Wolf, doing their thing.

Before they get up on stage, Matt Healey, the lead singer of The 1975 approaches us to advise us to bring seats up to the dance floor during their upcoming performance. It's probably a wise move - throughout Go Wolf's set, the entire audience loitered at the back of the venue in typical Belfast fashion, so having the crowd closer, albeit seated, makes for a better show. After being seated for about five minutes, the band enter the stage and burst into their first song, the soaring sound scape of "The City", much to the excitement of the crowd.

The 1975 (centre). Joe Strummer quote (bottom left)

Whilst the sound for the majority of the set is soaring, with guitars very much in My Bloody Valentine territory, the band display quite a bit of variation in their sound, something that hasn't really come across on their E.Ps. Throughout their set, they display elements of afro-rock (not too dissimilar to their label-mates Little Comets), ambient music, and at one point even U2-esque stadium rock. At one point, Matt plays the song "Woman" on his own and reveals that it was written in Belfast after meeting someone during a stay in the city last year. So if your name is Eileen and you worked at Malmaison Hotel in Belfast city centre last year - congratulations! There is a song about you being played across the UK by a Manchester band.

The group finish the set with their two loudest, most crowd pleasing songs - "Sex", which evokes the loudest reaction from the crowd and leads to some awkward 'chair dancing' among some crowd members, and "You", which concludes with singer Matt jumping off the stage, then destroying the microphone on his way back up. It's a memorable finish to a great set, and the band leave the stage to a great applause from the small, but dedicated crowd.

When a band such as The 1975 receives such massive hype, there is always the chance that it could easily deflate if they are unable to live up to the buzz live. However, in the case of The 1975, the hype is very much deserved. They have a great stage presence, a wonderful energy, and perhaps most importantly, some fantastic songs. Let's just hope that the next time they come back to Belfast, they play to a slightly bigger crowd. 

'Oh Yeah' indeed.

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